Rupert Murdoch Pounding Table at Interrogation

Jimmy Kimmel having a little fun at Murdoch’s expense. –

and then he has a little more fun –

Considering the enormity of the crimes being discussed, this is very mild stuff. But I promise you, the news of the last few weeks has left me wanting something different for at least a little while. I am tired of a President, I consider barely competent, and as ideologically free of any principle as any other politician one can name. I am tired of watching a rush toward default as if it were a good political maneuver and not a step into totally unknown consequences ranging from mild economic dislocation to global collapse. This is what our politics have come to. God help us all.

James Pilant

The Tables Are Turned on Murdoch (via The New York Times)

Joe Nocera writing in the New York Times creates an often satirical piece that segues from schadenfreude to celebrating justice. I relished every word and hope you enjoy the piece as much as I did.

These are my two favorite paragraphs, click on them to read the whole editorial.

James Pilant

Throughout his career, Murdoch has never just been satisfied with besting the competition, as most decent businessmen are. He’s not truly happy unless he has his foot on a competitor’s neck and is pressing it downward. Felix Salmon, a blogger for Reuters, unearthed testimony about an executive who ran one of Murdoch’s more obscure divisions. “I will destroy you,” the man told a competitor, according to the testimony. “I work for a man who wants it all and doesn’t understand anybody telling him he can’t have it all.”

One feature of Murdoch’s career is that he’s never played by the rules that apply to other businessmen. That’s one reason I think he seems so shellshocked in those paparazzi photographs: unable in this dire circumstance to make his own rules, he simply doesn’t know how to react or what to do. On Tuesday, when he is excoriated in Parliament, it will be the first time he has ever truly been held to account. It undoubtedly won’t be fun for him. But there are many people who are going to take great glee in his misery — not unlike the way his newspapers have always taken such glee in the misery of others.


Murdoch’s had his way with U.S. politicians also (via CBS News)

John Nichols writing for CBS Opinion argues that Murdoch is just as powerful here as in Great Britain –

Now, with Murdoch’s News Corp. empire in crisis—collapsing bit by bit under the weight of a steady stream of allegations about illegal phone hacking and influence peddling in Britain—there is an odd disconnect occurring in much of the major media of the United States. While there is some acknowledgement that Murdoch has interests in the United States (including not just his Fox News channel but the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post), the suggestion is that Murdoch was more manipulative, more influential, more controlling in Britain than here.

But that’s a fantasy. Just as Murdoch has had far too much control over politics and politicians in Britain during periods of conservative dominance—be it under an actual Tory such as former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major and current Prime Minister David Cameron or under a faux Tory such as former Prime Minister Tony Blair—he has had far too much control in the States. And that control, while ideological to some extent, is focused mainly on improving the bottom line for his media properties by securing for them unfair legal and regulatory advantages.

Nichols is absolutely right. The abuses reported overseas are just a different aspect of the Murdoch empire. The power manipulation done here by Murdoch’s various holdings are far more tragic than anything happening in Britain. However, do not for a moment, let you think I believe that Murdoch’s media empire has not been doing the same things here in this country that got them in trouble in England. I am waiting for the results of the FBI investigation.

Nichols also takes care to point out how Rupert Murdoch toys with American politicians like miniatures in a child’s toy collection –

As in England, Murdoch and his managers have for many years had their way with the American regulators and political players who should have been holding the mogul and the multinational to account. Sometimes Murdoch has succeeded through aggressive personal lobbying, sometimes with generous campaign contributions (with Democrats and Republicans among the favored recipients), sometimes by hiring the likes of Newt Gingrich (who as the Speaker of the House consulted with Murdoch in the 1990s) and Rick Santorum (who as a senator from Pennsylvania was a frequent defender of big media companies), sometimes by making stars of previously marginal figures such as Michele Bachmann.

Former White House political czar Karl Rove, who prodded Fox News to declare George Bush the winner of the disputed 2000 presidential election and who remains a key player in Republican politics to this day, still works for Murdoch, as does former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a prospective GOP vice presidential candidate.

I wish the public owned a politician or two. It would be a nice change.

James Pilant

Lauren Bloom’s Ethical Take on Rupert Murdoch!

Lauren Bloom has a business ethics blog and regularly comments on ethical issues often concentrating on such issues as keeping your business out of court. As of today, Lauren Bloom has written four different posting on the scandals afflicting Murdoch’s media empire.

The first one was on July 8th and was entitled –  We all bear some blame for The News of the World.

This is the concluding paragraph –

Until now, there’s been an unspoken assumption that rich and famous people, be they rock stars or Royals, deserve to have their dirty laundry aired in public if some clever reporter can sleuth it out. (I disagree, but that’s another post.) TNoW is suddenly being castigated for crossing the line by spying on ordinary people’s grief and worry, but who are we kidding here? TNoW only went after the stories its customers wanted to read. Was TNoW a vile scandal sheet whose management deserves to be raked over the coals for unethical journalism? You bet. But until consumers have the good taste and decency to turn away from that kind of garbage, it’s only a matter of time before another tabloid steps up to take TNOW’s place.

The second posting was on July 14th and was entitled –   Thank you, Rupert Murdoch!

Once again, I quote the concluding paragraph –

For someone who thinks ethics in business are important, Murdoch’s tumble is pure gold. I don’t have to argue in the abstract that ethical lapses can cause a business to lose buckets of money and important opportunities. I can just point to Murdoch – his story tells it all.

The third posting was on July 15 and has the title –  Don’t look the other way  

This paragraph probably conveys the essence of that essay.

It can be tempting for executives to look the other way when employees play fast and loose, especially if those employees create a competitive advantage for the company. Ultimately, however, those same executives will be held responsible when their employees’ misconduct becomes public. Rebekah Brooks just took a hard fall from grace, and Rupert Murdoch himself may not be far behind. News Corporation shareholders are already threatening a lawsuit. This scandal will cost the Murdoch empire millions in legal fees, to say nothing of the harm to its reputation and the value of its stock.

The fourth and most current is today’s posting – Rupert, you just don’t get it! 

This is her concluding remarks – pretty tough.

Murdoch wasn’t responsible for overseeing each of the many employees who work for News Corporation’s dozens of media outlets. But he was responsible for establishing and ethical corporate culture, ensuring that employees received reasonable oversight, and interceding when allegations of serious staff misconduct surfaced five years ago. Rumor has it that News Corporation’s stockholders are furious about management decisions that undermined the credibilityof the corporation and, with it, its stock price. They’re likely to demand Murdoch’s head on a platter, and I’ll bet they’ll eventually get it. Pride goeth, Mr. Murdoch … and it seems that you’re in for one heck of a fall.

I recommend you read all four postings, put Ms. Bloom’s web site on your favorites and consider subscribing.

James Pilant


Is the Met copping the consequences? (via Integrity Talking Points)

(When we speak of the Met, what is being referred to is the Metropolitan Police.)

One of the police officials who resigned on Monday had taken gifts and trips from the Murdoch holdings. Since the police are implicated in covering up the crimes of the News of the World and also implicated in providing the scandal sheets with information about crimes and victims, it is not surprising that in hind sight taking these gifts were a mistake.

From the essay – No official in the course of their job, should accept gifts, hospitality or other benefits of any value from anyone other than their employing agency without the explicit consent of their employer. In the vast majority of circumstances, the only reason anyone would give such benefits relates to the exercise of functions by that official – either before decisions are made or following the making of decisions. It is difficult to conceive of a gifting purpose unrelated to either “oiling the wheels” or to recognise the favourable way the wheels have turned for the person making the gift.

If a gift is to be accepted, that acceptance must be transparent. This involves open disclosure to a superior officer, the granting of approval, and formally recording the benefit in a publicly accessible register.

It would be difficult to say it better than this author in these paragraphs.

James Pilant

18 July 2011 The News of the World saga illustrates how any organisation can quickly lose public trust. A media spotlight on the Metropolitan Police over the next few weeks will inevitably have this effect. The resignation of the Commissioner may moderate criticism. The allegations made by the Sunday Telegraph about the Commissioner accepting gifts and hospitality related to the News of the World will challenge the commitment to the ethics polici … Read More

via Integrity Talking Points

What’s the difference between the News of the World and mechanically-recovered chicken? (via QA)

This is marvelous. Here we have some subversive, original thinking about our current state of morality. Do the ends justify the means? Murdoch’s empire is a vicious example of raw power in action. It deserves some tough satire.

James Pilant

Or, Does the end justify the means? I'm always on the look out for a good analogy. This one popped into my head. Once upon a time, the people who run meat processing plants became frustrated that little bits of otherwise delicious (and saleable) meat clung doggedly to a carcass after it had been stripped to make chicken nuggets, beefburgers or satay sticks. So, they invented ever more elaborate means by which to remove the meats from the bones. ' … Read More

via QA

The End of the “News of the World” Get Reactions Across the Net

The Final Headline For The News of The World? This is from a spoof web site having a little fun.

“News of the World” to mercifully end on Sunday.” This blogger was pretty pleased with the whole idea.

News of the World Obituary – I’m beginning to get the impression the News of the World was not loved. This essay was by  Paul and Marian Sinclair who have a very pleasant web site.

Damage Control: Are Rupert Murdoch and David Cameron too late? – News of the World shutdown this Sunday – This is a very nice newsy post with even a little video. I believe it is called “ideas Revolutionary Kempton.” I enjoyed it. You might give it more than one visit.

News of the World axed, but is that the end of the story? The web site 100GF calls for the investigation to continue.

Breaking: News Of The World to publish final edition on Sunday –  A very neutral article from the web site, Trash Lounge.


they tell us what they want (via getting lost in skylines; trying to forget)

I think this level of anger entirely appropriate. I was appalled by the “newspaper’s” conduct in hacking the voice mails of crime victims and their families.

James Pilant

they tell us what they want I just want to express my disgust and disbelief at what has been uncovered about the News of the World and their phone hacking. It's absolutely obscene. I also want to applaud the Guardian for their efforts in revealing it. This is one of the first times in history that one newspaper has investigated another (acc to tonight's This Week on BBC1), and given the results, you can see why that is. It's no surprise that they're the ones to have done it … Read More

via getting lost in skylines; trying to forget